Genre: angst, romance, AU-ish
Disclaimer: I don't own them or anything else JE-related, but the story is mine of course^^
Summary: Out of nostalgia Ohno buys a little clownfish, because its existence reminds him of too many things. The good ones and the bad ones, things he can't understand yet. It's about what love meant for him and Nino... without compromises, without doubts. The path towards the sun is a long one after all...
Note: Apparently that's happening when I want to write something FUN!!!! >< I hope you like it though, it cost me a lot to write it.
I have always thought that the shining sun is a strange thing, and so is the sky, and the water. The ocean is like an endless universe, full of surprises and dangers, full of miracles and beauty, full of darkness and softness, full of excitement and laziness. Every time I look at you, I always think that you are like the ocean, with all its mysteries. Nothing is more mysterious. Well, except one thing maybe. During these few moments when we forget about the ocean itself, we look up a bit, seeing how the sun sparkles on the water, and behind it, a wide horizon full of nothing. Like the ocean, just without water. The place behind the sun is the biggest mystery on earth. At least it is for me.
I never regret.
I always dash forward, like a fish in the sea.
Was I a mystery for you?
Or did you always follow me?
I have no doubts about you… I never had them.
That’s what love meant for me. Without compromises, doubtlessly.
A rainy day, no light was coming through the window, nothing was lightning the huge aquarium in the middle of the room. It felt weird for the little fish there that was swimming there, round and round.
In the middle of the room, the fish could see a young, slender man
The two men stepped into the apartment. One of them was carrying an umbrella, still, they were looking relaxed and calm. The rain didn’t seem to bother them. “Satoshi-kun, we were just in the area and wanted to say hello.”
So his name is Satoshi? What a strange name… You would expect someone much taller and bigger with such a name, not a person as fragile as this Satoshi-guy…
“You should call us more often.” the smaller one of the two guys, apparently the one with the name Sho, scolded the other.
“Sho-kun is right.”
HAH! So it had been Sho before? Good. His senses still work perfectly fine.
The other guy’s, Jun’s, voice was a bit louder, more rough, but also a bit warmer. But in the end, they both sounded concerned. The two guys came to the living room, looking around a bit.
“Sorry.” Satoshi sounded almost guilty. “I know I haven’t been a good friend recently lately”
Jun and Sho exchanged a meaningful glance before Sho turned around, smiling warmly. “Don’t say that. You are always a good friend.”
“Yes.” Jun nodded his head firmly. “We know that it’s difficult for you. But-” he paused, a troubled expression on his face. He shot a helpless glance at Sho who bit his lips nervously. “We were wondering- Please don’t get mad at us, but don’t you want to slowly go out again? Leave your apartment. At least sometimes?”
Satoshi sighed. It wasn’t clear if he was just annoyed or touched or didn’t feel anything. “I understand your concern but-”
“I know you are sad.” Sho interrupted him. “He meant a lot to you. And now he is gone. It’s so unfair! But… do you think he would want you to hide in your apartment and not leave it anymore? It’s been a year now.”
When Satoshi didn’t answer, Jun looked at him insistently. “Most likely no, right? He would never want you to be that sad.”
The smaller man sighed a bit, deep furrows between his eyes. “I do understand you, really. And maybe you are right. But right now, I still need time.”
Jun looked at the other one in concern, but apparently, he thought that they had pushed it far enough today. So he stepped a bit closer to the huge aquarium which was filling almost one complete wall in the living room.
Yes, you guys, look at my own personal kingdom!
Jun inspected the place closely, then his eyes sparkled a bit. “You have a new fish.” he finally stated.
Satoshi smiled an almost invisible smile. “Yes.”
Sho stepped closer too, looking at the same spot. “A clownfish?”
“It looks funny.” Satoshi told them, smiling warmly. “I found it coincidentally. I actually wanted to have a puppy or a cat, but somehow I ended up buying this here.”
“It really looks funny.” Jun grinned.
Not THAT funny! “
You could call it Nemo.” Sho joked lamely.
“No.” Satoshi shook his head. “I never liked that name. I prefer Nino.”
Nino? Couldn’t it be something more creative? Really… You’re naming me Nino! And that from a guy named SATOSHI!? Nino frowned deeply, but then he sighed. At least he had a name now, not a really good one, but at least a name.
Better than Nemo though! Hah, Sho has always been an idiot-
It was like something hit him. Sho has always been an idiot? Where did this thought come from? Why? Why do these guys look so familiar to him? Has he seen them before? But then, he’s only been here for two days. His head was feeling dizzy all of a sudden. There was something swirling around his mind, but he couldn’t grasp it, neither could he tell what it was. Like a little puzzle piece he had to put back to make everything work again. A puzzle piece… Just what kind of puzzle? And what kind of puzzle piece?
“Nino-” Jun sighed almost sadly. Nino could see his face getting a worried expression for a moment before he got himself together again. “Like his name.”
“He never liked fish much.” Satoshi answered silently. “Just this type here.”
Wait? HIS name! His? Whose? Whose name had Nino been before? Nino swam around with swift movements, feeling a bit nervous. His big eyes scanned the guys behind the wall frantically, wanting them to answer him. Damn you guys! Why is no one saying anything now?
Nino swam as close to the glass wall as possible and looked at them through begging eyes, wanting to know more.
“Look…” Sho mumbled. “It’s as if it understands us…”
Wow! Smarty pants! Nino frowned at that. These types of smart guys are so annoying sometimes. He shot a glare at the three men before he turned his back and swam away.
Ah… he sighed contently when he stumbled over another fish. It was a bigger one, much bigger than he was. But he didn’t look really intimidating. “Hey.” He chirped.
The fish turned around, looking at him in confusion. “Hey.” his voice sounded lazy and bored.
Nino frowned a bit but decided to ignore this impolite answer. “Is it nice here?” he asked. “These two idiots seem to be here quite often.”
The fish looked at him in surprise. “I don’t know. I don’t get what you are saying” he yawned. “You are a strange fish. Why do you mind the human’s businesses?”
Nino blinked at that. So he was a strange fish? Why? He didn’t feel strange at all, but then he didn’t feel much like a fish either. Damn, this impolite fish. It really is much more fun to be around the humans after all.
To his surprise Jun and Sho had already left, just Satoshi was sitting on the opposite side of the room, reading a book. Nino scanned the man properly. Maybe he wasn’t exactly beautiful, but his eyes were amazing. So deep. Nino frowned. With such a sad and tired glance. Why are you sad, Satoshi-kun?
Nino felt like pouting when the man didn’t even see him swimming around like crazy. He hated it to be ignored. Don’t be a prick, Sa-chan! Look at me! With that, he turned half on his back, glancing at the water’s surface. He paused for a moment – there was no sun above him. But why did he even know anything about the sun? He hasn’t even seen it before… all his life he has been in aquariums. Not outside. But the picture of the sun above him and the horizon behind it was so present in his mind that he almost felt sad when he looked up and didn’t find the sun sparkling above him.
To avoid these complicated thoughts, he gathered his courage, swimming towards the surface and splashing a bit with his back-fin. He felt almost proud when Satoshi reacted at that, looking up in surprise.
Nino swam towards the glass wall again, staring outside, not wanting to miss any movement of this guy. Wasn’t Satoshi just mesmerizing?
Satoshi smiled warmly. He really did have beautiful eyes. Nino sighed in admiration. Good that a fish couldn’t blush.
“Are you hungry?” Satoshi asked softly.
Hungry? Who said anything about being hungry? Really, a human’s solution to everything: offering food. He looked up at Satoshi in annoyance, then he sighed. Well, maybe a bit hungry.
“You are a cute fish.” Satoshi knelt down a bit. “A beautiful one.” He looked at Nino before his gaze turned to something far away. “He always liked fish like you.” he suddenly mumbled. “He said they remind him of me. That they are cute like me. And that there are so much more behind their surface than just their appearance. He always says such things out of the blue. But despite that, it was so easy for me to follow him.” Satoshi smiled sadly. “We kissed for the first time in front of an aquarium, you know? It was full of clown fishes. Like a huge orange wall around us. Everything about him was colourful.”
Who? Nino moved his fin a bit. Who are you talking about? He felt how his little fish-heart clenched a bit. It hurt. But he didn’t know why, he didn’t understand - Is it supposed to hurt? He is only a fish after all. They don’t have a warm heart like humans… or dogs… or squirrels. They are just fishes.
“And then he left me. All of a sudden. Like a hurricane he came into my world, and like a hurricane he left it, totally devastated.”
Why did he leave? He shouldn’t have left. Not such an amazing guy like you.
“In the end he didn’t even say good-bye. He was just…gone. Not opening his eyes anymore. He never told me that he was ill. The only action of him that I couldn’t follow, was him leaving me-”
In the middle of the cold water, Nino could feel his own tears dropping down through his fish-eyes. Fish aren’t supposed to cry, do they? He felt how his tears got mixed up with the water around him
How? He didn’t know that…
Could it be possible? It is impossible!
Why? Maybe because it was necessary…
All of a sudden, Nino felt it in his heart, a sadness spreading through him, together with a wave of tenderness and love which he never thought he would feel to that amount. His heart was beating faster, something inside him opening up the door to all the things he didn’t understand till now. The puzzle.
He didn’t tell you, because he was afraid.
He didn’t tell you, because the truth was the most frightening for him.
Rather than fearing the future, he preferred to love the present.
Without compromises, doubtlessly.
That’s how he was and how he would always be.
Jun was right, and so was Sho. He wouldn’t want you to hide at home and cry tears that wouldn’t reach him anymore.
The good-bye he couldn’t say back then, he would say now. Properly.
For a moment, he really felt like his former self again, reaching out his arms through the glass, touching Satoshi’s wet cheeks, stroking them, a soft kiss placed on his lips, a good-bye whispered into his ears.
A last chance to say goodbye.
Satoshi almost jumped up, touching his face a bit, his heart hammering against his chest madly. For a moment, he felt it again, his heart beating like it only did when Nino touches him, his fingers and lips on his face. After all these years, Satoshi could definitely tell their taste and the feeling they produce on his skin. He rubbed over his head in desperation, his gaze shifting back from his own little world to his new fish. But there was nothing in front of him. Satoshi jumped up, checking the whole aquarium, but there’s no little orange fish swirling around. Nothing. As if he has never been there. But he was. He knew that, he had bought him after all and brought him to his house.
Satoshi sighed deeply, his gaze shifting to a photo of Nino standing on the cupboard. Nino in front of the aquarium where they had shared their first kiss. The one aquarium… full of yellow clown fishes.
The following night he didn’t sleep. Not even a bit. He kept staring at the ceiling, tossing around in his bed. Never did the space next to him feel so empty before, never did the pain feel so real. But for the first time in almost a year, there is another thing inside him. It didn’t only hurt anymore. He couldn’t tell what it is, but every now and then, he could feel it. Feel something. Not only sadness. It was this change inside him that left him lying awake in his bed. And no matter how much he tried to solve this little miracle, he couldn’t.
“Some mysteries should never be solved…” Nino showed Satoshi his mesmerizing smile, his fingers moving over the other’s lips. “Let’s not try to understand everything. The moment we do, there is nothing to look forward to. There is nothing to laugh about. There is nothing to be surprised about. We don’t need an answer to all our questions. Maybe it’s better if some of them stay unspoken.”
In the end Nino could only laugh at himself. He should have known it from the beginning when he looked at his only love’s beautiful face. Even through his fish-eyes, he should have understood that the puzzle piece he had been searching for in this aquarium is nothing else than his own existence. And a good-bye he wanted to say so badly. After all, he was always able to do it: Push Satoshi out of his lethargy, out of his sadness. Also this time. No matter what he was – even as a fish. There aren’t any limits to his being. There are no bounds. He doesn’t need to know the answers about how it is possible and why. Who cares? As long as it did happen, he doesn’t need any proof. And he knows that Satoshi wouldn’t ask either. They both wouldn’t need any proof. In the end, both of them weren’t able to let go…until now. What Satoshi needed was just a good-bye, whispered softly through the teary water right into his heart.
After all, the road to the path behind the sun is a mysterious one.